Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fantastic News!

I got word from a comment posted on one of my previous entries that Forbidden Journey has finally added modified seating to its ride vehicles! Only a handful of vehicles have added these seats, and the modified seats are on the far right & left of the vehicle. The test seats have also been modified to display a color when trying them out. After pulling the restraint down, if you get a red light, that means you cannot ride. If you get a yellow light, that means you can fit into the modified seat. Green light means you can ride in any seat.

To me, this is fantastic news! Even though I have lost the weight to get the three clicks in a regular seat, I'm still at a size where it depends on how hard the ride attendant pushes the restraint. There can be times where I can ride it, and then I'll get back in line and not be able to ride. These new modified seats, I'm hoping, will guarantee that I will ride everytime. Also, for a lot of guests who couldn't fit before, this gives them a reason to come back and try again, and hopefully be able to ride!

I am going to go to Potter tomorrow to test out these modified seats myself, and will update this entry tomorrow night with information on how the seats worked out.

Edit: Decided to head out there today and test out the modified seats, and let me tell you, they are a much needed addition to Forbidden Journey! Let me explain the process of riding in a test seat. At the entrance to the ride, and right before the loading area, there are test seats. Used to be every person had to get three clicks in order to ride, and the restraint was not very forgiving for larger guests.

Now, with the addition of the modified seats, the test seat process has changed. When you sit down, there are three lights next to you; red, yellow, and green. As I stated earlier in the post, red=no ride, yellow=modified seat, and green=sit anywhere. If you get yellow and need a modified seat, once you get to the part before the loading platform where the second test seat is, the attendant will put you in the middle line, which is reserved for guests needing the modified seat.

Since there are only around 8 vehicles that currently have modified seating, you have to wait for one to come around. Once it does come you go to the loading platform, and choose either of the outside seats. The two middle seats are not modified. You still need three clicks to be able to ride, but they are now much easier to get, especially with the little extra room you have in the seat.

For the first time since the ride opened, I was able to get three clicks by myself. Granted, it was a modified seat, but it still felt good to not have to ask the attendant to push as hard as they can to make me fit. I'm actually very glad I was able to achieve my weight loss goal of fitting into a regular seat before they added modified seats. I may have stopped dieting if they had them to begin with. Luckily, though, since I've been losing weight for three months I can continue to lose weight. I will not stop!

The best part about the modified seats is how successful they are! Since they started using them yesterday, September 10, only 1 guests has been told they couldn't ride because of size, when a week ago maybe 50 or 60 guests in the same timespan would be turned away! I honestly believe that if you have tried riding Forbidden Journey and couldn't fit this summer, you should plan on coming back and trying again, because chances are that you will be able to experience Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!

Question of the day: Now that modified seating has been added to Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey, will those of you who have tried in the past come back and try again?


  1. honestly, I'm not as brave or thick skinned as you are and I am still scared to death of finding out I couldnt ride in front of everyone. I once went to Busch Gardens and was made to change seats with someone else (made them get up and move)for the longer seatbelt. it ruined the entire day in the park and has made me paranoid about rides ever since. TG for WDW, where i have never had an issue!

    as much as i looked forward once to riding this ride, I dont know if i would ever be able to bring myself to try it now. why cant they make the tester seats out of the way where you can try it out without people gawking?!

  2. That is so incredibly exciting. I'd heard they were going to try and get them before December. I'm so happy they have them!! I have a question about them. Are they any wider!? I never had a problem with pulling down the restraint but I have wide hips so I couldn't get comfortably down into the seat because of it. So I'm hoping they are a little bit wider.

  3. people should never be embarrassed about not fitting into a regular or even modified seat in a theme park. Trust me, as a theme park worker, it happens ALL THE TIME. Several times a day on every ride so the attendants are used to accommodating guests that may not fit. My best advice, know your stuff ahead of time. ALWAYS try the test seat. Ask about modified seating even if its not listed. Talk to the attendants, if they have any experience at all they will know the body dimensions that fit and won't fit so just speak to them about it first. If all else fails, go in late January when there's no one in the park so there will be fewer people around to be embarrassed in front of (j/k kind of)

  4. So proud of your progress. Don't stop now!

  5. This proves that if you want something done, it can be done. I think a lot of people are thankful for your quest. You have done well.

  6. I was particularly heartbroken and embarassed when I went the previous weekend. I was traveling in a big group of friends who were celebrating one of our friend's birthday. I was so excited that I had finally gotten the chance to ride the attraction. I had previously gone to the team member preview night. But they did not have the ride fully functional that night, so was unable to ride then.

    I just sat down in that test seat right before loading it clicked 2 times I believe. And just would not go anymore. i'm 5'8" and around 240 pounds. SO I know i'm a big girl! But I've been looking forward to this attraction since it had broke ground. So to be that close Broke my heart, and I took a huge hit to my self esteem.

    So THANK YOU! For letting me know that things have since changed for the better! And hopefully before work this week I can hop on!

  7. Banks, this is such cool news. I am in the same boat with you and many others losing weight on the "Harry Potter Diet". Since April of this year I have gone from being 6 foot 3 at 320 pounds now down to 269 and dropping. My trip is in 3 weeks and I've been in such freakout mode that even with hitting my projected weight of 260 that I would still be too big to ride. my wife and I are from California and we are making this trip SPECIFICALLY to see Potter. This takes a little pressure off my head knowing that I'll be OK.......but THIS DOES NOT MEAN I AM GIVING UP. For most of my adult life I've been overweight and it ends this year. I am a desk jockey in sales for a multi national bank, so by its very nature it is a sedentary job. I have been waking up every morning to do 3 miles on the Eliptical machine every morning and along with eating better and keeping it under 2000 calories a day I've been shedding weight. Banks, you are a kindred spirit and we love you man! My personal goal is to get down to 240 by Christmas and 220 by April 1, one year later. I guess we can all thank JK Rowling and the Potter phenomenon, any of us who decided that it was better to do something about ourselves and not blame get out there and do something

  8. This is fantastic news! I've been on my own HP&FJ diet ever since the park opened and news about the problematic seats started to pour out... I've lost 25 pounds, and our trip isn't until the week after Christmas, but this still gives me hope that I'll be able to ride no matter what. My goal is still to fit in the regular seats, but it's a huge sense of relief to know that they are fixing this problem... just in case!

  9. Do you guys think a 200 pound 5'3 person will fit? Weight mostly in the bottom/hip area?

  10. Went to the Wizarding World first week of September and my dad was basically thrown off because of his size, it was awful how thy handled it and we were disgusted, he's large but he's never been too large for anything, and with some of the people we saw queueing, we thought it would be no problem.
    The gaffer who my dad spoke to told us he had no idea when modified seats would be installed and yet there were installed within the week!!! We the went to the park on Friday September 10th but did not bother to ride again and I didn't want to ride without my dad,wasn't fair.
    There should have been a sign or something placed in the park as we'd have then gone on.
    We go home Tuesday morning and have other plans for tomorrow, looks like it'll be a whole year before he gets to ride it.

  11. That is cool news, I'm heading to Florida this winter and will probably be stopping by there after I ride the Maliboomer in Disney's California Adventure that I was kicked off of last December. Even though I've lost about 90 pounds now and will probably fit in the normal seats, I'm stll over 230 and, at 6'1", it is good to know there is a backup option just in case.

    Keep riding the regular seats, every time you ride you should fit just a little better and that would be great motivation to keep at your fitness plans. Also, if you ever make it to the California Disney parks, let me know! Good job Banks - you rock!

    -Travis C.
    1 YEAR - 100 POUNDS - 1 MARATHON

  12. I appreciate your blog and the inspiration you are spreading. My daughter, husband and I just went to IOA Saturday 9/11 and decided to try Harry Potter ride mid-afternoon. It was a 75 minute wait but we don't get tickets to the park very often, mostly because my kids are older, my daughter is 12 so she isn't much into the parks at this time and due to the fact that it is so expensive to get in and my husband has been unemployed for 15 months. We were able to get really discounted tickets and just couldn't pass up the chance to go. So, while waiting in this long, hot, line for the Harry Potter ride, we kept reading the signs that tell you all the restrictions of why you CAN'T ride the ride, such as heart conditions, stroke, expectant mother's, even if you have a prosthetic leg you must remove it before riding, but NEVER did we see a sign that said anything about SIZE DEMENTIONS. What is up with that? When we got to the area where the test seat was my husband was pulled out of line in front of everyone to ask him to TRY out the seat! How embarassing! For everyone, for my husband especially but also for myself and my daughter! My daughter and I kept moving through the line so as to not lose our spot in line. After you wait over an hour, you don't want to wait any longer! Then my husband comes up to use in the middle line and makes us get in the line with him. Then we stood there behind another dad and his kids, waiting and waiting and waiting while both lines to the left and right of us just ran on through. I feel that this is discriminating to park guest! My husband is around 5'7" and 230lbs. You can't tell he is overweight from the back, because all he has is a belly. He wears a size 38 in pants. My husband told me that when he was trying out the test seat that the girl attendant was pushing down on the over arm bar and actually hurting his arms, but that his belly was free and clear. Can you help me understand what the attendants are looking for when they decide was parties need to try the test seat and which ones don't? I hate the way they do it right in front of everyone in line! Some guy behind us was actually rude when they pulled my husband out of line and was making rude remarks! This is not the way I wanted to spend my day at the park with my family! Even when we waited so long in the middle line, my husband voiced his concern to the lady attendant that finally pulled us out of line to be seated and she just rolled her eyes at him and acted like we were such a burden! I must admit I LOVED the way, but HATED the way my husband was treated!! I wish my husband would now get the mind set that you have and look at this experience as an Opportunity to get healthy if not for himself for his family! Thanks for all you are doing and keep up the GREAT work!!

  13. Buy delicious cookies, be entered to win a trip to the Wizarding World

    Our friends at Gimmee Jimmy's Cookies are raising money for Habitat for Humanity, and by helping them raise funds you can win a trip for two to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

    To participate, simply click here and place an order for one of the special cookie orders they have available (I've tried 'em - they're delicious). For every pound of cookies you order, you'll receive one entry into the Wizarding World contest.

    Each additional pound of cookies also sends an additional $5 to Habitat for Humanity. We hope you order, help a good cause, and win the trip!

    These are a great Gourmet Cookie

  14. Made it... but it was close with my now 48inch waist... I wasnt even close when it opened. Losing 4 inches off the waist helped...

    I have more to go to get in a regular seat... But just glad I got this far... gym tonight!!!


    You were mentioned in this article and it is unfortunate. I am very angry that there are people out there who are that obese that they demand to have seats made for them. People's SAFETY is more important. It's not the fun park's fault if lazy, fat, disgusting people complain that they can't fit in a seat when they should be exercising rather than complaining. Your blog is pathetic to say the least. Kootz to you.

  16. Excellent job on getting to ride it! You deserve it!

  17. I am just so amazed about how obese folks seem to think their situation is so normal, their surroundings have to adapt to their misbehavior in terms of lifestyle (no exercise, wrong food etc.).

    It reminds me of that Pixar movie "WALL-E" where super-sized humans roam an automated spaceship in hovering armchairs, not able to sustain themselves because of their bad lifestyle over generations.

    It's a shame that a theme park deems it necessary to install "obesity seats". That's a clear indication as to where the obesity problem is leading in the US.

    It's a good thing a lot of obese people seem to feel guilty of having to use those super-sized seats. Maybe that's what it takes to make them change their lifestyle - to their own benefit!

  18. Great job on the weight loss...
    Dude your and your blog made it on the German news!!! See link below - the translation by Google is a little crude....That's how I found it.
    don't stop now! I lost ~60lbs myself and still motivated to loose more! Start weight lifting - Your fiancee will love it when she can see all you muscles :)

  19. I just found your blog today and thought, this might interest you:

    You might not be addicted, but they really know how to help people to loose weight and keep it off. Even to stop bingeing. They helped me a lot.

    You'd fit into any seat if you're following their program! And it's free!

  20. eat less, exercise more....
    weight lifting is great, burns calories even when your not at the gym :) good luck!

  21. Haters go away! Didn't anyone teach you that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all? Go find the skinny-people-are-superior blogs and post your awesome stats there.
    This blog is about Banks working hard toward a goal and readers supporting his efforts. Negativity has no place here. Go Banks! Keep up the good work!

  22. I'm always shocked that people feel the need to comment so rudely in situations like this. I mean, here is this upbeat guy doing his best to commit to a healthy lifestyle, and people have to come here and say mean things. Personally, I think people who make comments like that must have pretty pathetic lives, if they need to make themselves feel good by putting other people down. Don't listen to the haters, Banks!

  23. i was shocked that some people are rude enough to even write a nasty responce i think i=that it is great that you are willing to loose the weight and post it on a blog for the public to be able to read. that takes some serious courage to loose the weight but to post it WOW i support you and wish you luck with the reat of your journy

  24. I love what you've done. It's revolutionary and I'm not being sarcastic. Rather than boycott Universal, complain to the media, or sue Universal, you realized the only thing you can truly change is yourself. You are such an inspiration. I also think its great that Universal has made some of the seats bigger, but really...who wants to sit in those? I'm overweight and I sure don't want to be singled out for a special seat.

  25. Don't give up! You can loose that weight and get your ideal body, you've already achieved your initial goal, you can do it!

    When it comes to fat loss, I say the important thing isn't how much you lost, or how fast you lost it, but how much you weigh 6 months after you reach your goal. If you manage to stay at that weight, then you've truly made it work for you. If you've lost more, and that's what you want, all the more power to you!

    The important thing with fat-loss is to find an enjoyable way to stay healthy. After all, what's the point of loosing fat with a diet you hate, only to regain it afterwards?

    I started my fat-loss journey with a little gut at the start of 2010, but I've gotten rid of it, and I'm gaining muscle and strength, all while loosing fat (albeit slower now), despite the fact that I still bake chocolate cakes & chocolate chip cookies for myself just as often as before! :D

  26. This is such a great thing for people to see today. It's a simple goal and reading your blog just made me feel happy. Congratulations on your success and I hope you'll continue to blog your adventures in Orlando!

  27. Don't know why skinny people care when the new seats don't affect them or their safety at all.

    Seats SHOULD accommodate everyone if possible. Since Universal has made an adjustment, it's clearly possible.

    Keep it up, Banks. If your efforts inspire even one other person, you're not just doing good for yourself, but for the world, too.

  28. Another point: Universal is a business. They're there to make money. They were losing (at least some) money because their product was not appropriate for a portion of the population. Like it or not, a large portion of the population IS overweight. If the business wants to make money, they better try to accommodate as many people as possible.

  29. Congratulations, you have inspired me!

  30. I remember that a large portion of the people who attended the Infinitus convention were really peeved (myself included) when we had to pay a significant cost for a special nighttime event and so many of us couldn't get on the ride. We had a Q&A with the park's architect and vice president (I believe) before we were allowed in, and that was one of the "gripes" people had.

    There's a small group of us calling ourselves "WizardStrong" that have vowed to get better in shape by Summer 2011 for that we can actually ride the ride.

    I remember it being SO frustrating, because people who seemed a lot bigger than I am were getting off the ride while I was not allowed. I guess it all depends on where you smush...

    It was nice, though, that they let people walk through and look at the castle even if they couldn't ride. But I'm not going to lie that I cried for not being able to go on. With the Wizarding World being the manifestation of half a lifetime's worth of was just utterly heartbreaking.

    Anyway, thank you for being so inspiring. It's hard for those of us who couldn't fit and live far away to find the motivation to go back and try...since we don't have a "guarantee" and it's just so expensive if you don't live near Orlando. The modified seats are great news...and even if I weren't already planning to go back, I think your story would convince me to visit again. :)

    It sounds a little like it's still iffy if you can fit in them? Do you think that, in the beginning, you would have fit in the modified seat? Or would you still have had to lose inches?

  31. It didn't make sense for the best and newest ride in the park to be the most restrictive. Americans are getting bigger, not smaller! That said, good job on slimming down for the old skinny seats! And good on Universal for adding the modified seats so more people can enjoy their great ride. I am on the Harry Potter diet for our trip this Thanksgiving :)

  32. I've followed this story from the very beginning, planning a trip from Australia to Orlando. I was quite apprehensive about whether I would fit on the ride, and the level of embarrassment, etc. I weigh around 260-270 pounds. Well this past weekend I got the "yellow" click for the modified seat and was able to ride twice, quite snug in the seat, no problems and no issues. Obviously everyone will be different, but don't give up hope. In saying that, I think my chances of making the original seat sizing (before modifications) would have been zero. Anyway. Keep up the good work Banks.

  33. I really like how he was all optimistic about keeping up this blog and losing weight but now it's been two months and we haven't heard a peep from him. I'm sure he's ver busy and all but he doesn't have time to write on or two sentences saying he's really busy? smh

  34. I had ridden that ride thrice and still fit! Well, I congratulate you on your weight loss journey in recent months! Hats of to UIOA too for standing up for people at large on that ride!

    I for one have created my own weight-loss blog too (with useful information for you readers), using Adventure Island (I happen to live near Tampa) as my motivator! Mine is called EFT for Weight Loss (and Water Parks!), and it's worthy of a read!

  35. I was wondering if I would fit, I am a female wear size 26/28 jeans around 280. (for those negative people out there, yes I know I am morbidly obese and need to lose weight but I don't need or want negative comments) I just want to know is someone like me might fit

  36. I was there two weeks ago—after Universal said they had added larger seats. NO BIG SEATS TO BE FOUND. I was turned away and got a full refund of my ticket at Guest relations.

  37. I rode forbidden journey today and they no longer have a special line for modified seats. When I got to the ride, I told the "wizard" that I needed a modified seat, and she said I could sit on the outside seats of any bench. The modified seats are great - I am very big (56" stomach/hips) and was able to get 3 clicks on my own in the modified seats without any help! The ride is amazing!

  38. Hello..
    Thank you for your blog :) i got it off the muggle net site and have also added you on fb

    I am soo excited about the change on the FJ. MY family and i traveled all the way to Orlando from Sydney Australia last Aug and The FJ was the one thing i was looking forward to.

    When we first got in to the park we decide to go on the Hulk and i had no probs using the biggest seats on that coster. When we got to WW we lined up for 2 hours.. i didn't think i needed to try the seats as i had got on the hulk no probs and i would surely get on the FJ... so as we got closer i was pulled out of the line and asked to try the seats.. big mistake i didn't fit and was told to wait in the little room and my daughter went on it :( i was sooooo disappointed... and then to come home and a few weeks after read that they had changed the seats was even more salt in the wounds..

    But we plan on reliving the experience in september.. i have vowed to start dieting just to make sure that i can get on the ride :D
    Keep up your awesome job with your weight loss..


  39. Congratulations on your amazing achievement, and on being able to ride HP&TFJ!! That is awesome and so inspiring.

    I visited the park last July, not long after the official opening. I had heard about the restrictive seats prior, and having to "try them on" in front of everyone, and knew there was no way I would A.) subject myself to the humiliation and B.) fit anyway, which was completely heartbreaking. My friend, who is not a big HP fan but went with me for company, went happily on the ride while I had to stay on the sidelines, trying not to sob hysterically. Being at the park was a dream come true, but having to miss out on that ride was almost more than I could stand.

    Since then, I have tried really hard to lose the weight. I'm now walking 6 miles a day, every day, and have cut absolutely everything I love from my diet. Calories slashed, exercise WAY up, I'm doing everything I can to get healthy and lose weight, but it's just not coming off. Or, well, it's coming off so slowly that it might as well not be budging at all.

    My family and I are going back to Orlando this summer for LeakyCon 2011 (YAY!) and of course to the park. Before they changed the seats, I had heard that the waist measurement, to be safe, was 38 inches, and also that busty women might still have problems. Can you give us a more definitive measurement to shoot for now that they have adjusted the seats? I know there is no way I can possibly get down to a 38" waist by July, even my 6' tall athlete daughter has a 41" waist and wears a size 14. I would KILL for that, but as of right now I am still over 300 pounds with a 56" waist, 66" bust at 5'6" tall. I am hoping to be down to, at most, a 45" waist by July if I can get this stupid weight to start moving, and probably still a 58" bust since I don't tend to lose much in that area. Is there any hope, or am I still going to have to cry myself to sleep for weeks afterward?

    Thanks for any more info you can report, and congratulations again on your great success.